Donovan Mitchell’s health, Ja Morant’s emergence among key storylines – fr

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Donovan Mitchell’s health, Ja Morant’s emergence among key storylines – fr


NBA fans may have been clamoring for seeded Utah Jazz to take on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, but the Memphis Grizzlies have earned their place in the game – and we should. be just as excited for it. Ja Morant is one of the most electric young players in the league, after a memorable performance in Friday’s playoff game, and the Grizzlies are playing some of their best basketball of the season.

On the other side, you have the well-oiled machine that is the Jazz, who finished fourth in the championship on offense and third in defense while compiling the best record in the NBA. It’ll be a good test of momentum, as Memphis comes out of three games with playoff intensity and will be ready from the opening point. Add to that the fact that jazz star Donovan Mitchell is recovering from a serious ankle injury, and it could be a much tighter 1v8 game than we are used to seeing in the NBA.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Jazz-Grizzlies opening series.

N ° 1 Utah Jazz vs N ° 8 Memphis Grizzlies

Every hour in the East

  • Game 1: Sunday May 23, 9:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
  • Game 2: Wednesday, May 26, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
  • Game 3: Saturday, May 29, 1 p.m. | TV: ESPN
  • Game 4: Monday May 31, 9:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
  • * Game 5: Wednesday June 2, to be determined | TV: To be determined
  • * Game 6: Friday June 4, to be determined | TV: To be determined
  • * Game 7: Sunday June 6, to be determined | TV: To be determined

*If necessary

Featured Game | Utah Jazz contre Memphis Grizzlies

1. How healthy is Donovan Mitchell?

Mitchell said he plans to gear up for Game 1 after missing the last 16 games of the regular season with a sprained right ankle, but there’s a big difference between being on the pitch and having the impact. that Utah needs him. He led the team in scoring while achieving career highs in assists (5.2) and 3-point accuracy (38%), and is one of the few jazz players capable of creating his own shot. in late situations. Mitchell has scored 35 points in each of the two games he’s played against the Grizzlies this season, both wins for Jazz.

But we saw how the players, namely LeBron James, struggled to come back from those serious ankle sprains. While he can avoid a setback with the ankle itself, it will take him at least a few games to bring his conditioning back to playoff level. If so, the Grizzlies could steal one of Utah’s first two games to change the landscape of the series.

2. Ja Morant’s playoff debut

Morant has just put in the best performance of his career in the greatest game of his career, and must be absolutely confident going into this series. He has scored 36 and 32 points in two of this season’s games against the Jazz, recording just 12 points in 26 minutes in a resounding loss in Game 3.

The Warriors slumped off Morant in the last game of the regular season and he struggled from 3 points. They tried the same tactic in Friday’s playoff game, and Morant clocked a career-high five points to 3 points in 10 attempts, en route to 35 points. Utah will likely use a similar strategy in the pick-and-roll, dropping Rudy Gobert in the paint to prevent penetration. If Morant can continue to shoot well from depth, it could force Quin Snyder to at least slightly change the Jazz’s defensive approach.

Either way, it’ll be fun to watch Morant progress into what will likely be the first of many playoffs in his career.

3. Contrasting styles

It will be a battle of vastly different play styles. The Jazz were the NBA’s first in the regular season in 3-point attempts and successes, while the Grizzlies were 23rd in attempts and 24th in marks. Meanwhile, Memphis led the league with 55.8 points in paint per game and the Jazz finished 24th at 44.2. Utah too permit the ninth-highest number of points in the paint per game this season. It’s no secret how each team will try to win: the Jazz will try to dominate the 3 point line, while the Grizzlies will try to dominate the paint.

Big man Jonas Valanciunas has been excellent lately, scoring 29 points and 16 rebounds in the regular season finale against Golden State, then a monster 23 point, 23 rebound line in the Grizzlies’ opener. against Spurs. But he didn’t have to match Rudy Gobert, who could be on his way to a third Defensive Player of the Year trophy. The contrasting styles of Utah and Memphis should make for a fun game in the first round.

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